FG sues for peace over FUTO, communities’ face off
Determined to ensure that the over 35- year- old land dispute between the authorities of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) and communities hosting the institution, comes to an end, the Federal Government has pledged to resolve the ongoing impasse without further delay.
The meeting between the parties were midwived by the Minister of State for Works, Power and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, a Surveyor, who also said he was satisfied by the maturity and willingness of the parties to end the matter.
Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in Owerri West Local Council, Eze Maurison Eke led other monarchs and leaders of the eight host communities (Ihiagwa, Eziobodo, Obinze, Avu, Okolochi, Ogbeke, Emeabiam and Needed) to the meeting. Others present include Attorney to host communities, Chief Sam Anokam, and a prominent son in Ihiagwa, Emeka Udopkoro.
Hassan, regretted that the crisis had lingered for years, after the land measuring about 4,580 hectares were acquired by the FUTO management in 1982.
According to him, the Federal Government was worried by the development and determined to ensure it’s lasting solution. He urged the communities, which has 30 villages not to escalate the dispute to uncontrollable situation.
He advised the monarchs to call their subjects to order, and ensure that peace prevailed. “The Federal Government is aware of the land dispute and it is determined to bring lasting solution of peace to the parties.
We are going to meet the management of the FUTO. The Federal Government is grateful for the donation of land to the University by you, the host communities, “Hassan said.
Anokam and a leader in the community, Chris Ahumibe, a lawyer, accused the institution of encroaching into their ancestral settlement/habitaion areas, outside the original compensated areas.
The duo said from available records at their disposal, only about 1,430 hectares of land there, were compensated for leaving behind balance of 3,120 uncompensated.
They also queried the need for the institution to acquire such large expanse of land, causing the communities’ young and old ones lacking land for building private homes, stressing that there were undeveloped lands controlled by the FUTO, wasting.
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